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Is a light source giving off light composed of red, green and blue lights harmful to the eyes? Does it lack any important qualities that other artificial light sources, such incandescent lamps or white LEDs may have?

Is it alright to use RGB light panels in a room instead of the usual lighting?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

At a fundamental level, no, we're fine with LED lighting. The absorption spectra of our cones are quite broad, and RGB LEDs are chosen to match our color sensitivity reasonably well. That red+green looks the same to us as light that is actually yellow is because our eyes can't tell the difference since we don't have good enough spectral resolution in our vision.

There could be more subtle emotional or other complex effects, but to a good approximation, if it looks right it is right, and there aren't magical frequencies that we need to avoid e.g. retinal degeneration or something else awful. (Well, large amounts of UV are bad, but RGB LEDs don't produce a significant amount of UV.)

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Plus, all of the wavelengths in RGB LEDs are also present in white light... –  nico May 12 '13 at 22:41
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